Destination Information Series
Five Things to Do in Bali
By Sara Tiffany
Bali is a lush island of Indonesia known for its natural beauty and rich spirituality. Popular with both the beach bums and the spiritual retreaters, Bali is ripe with opportunities for those who want to meditate at a mountainside resort and for those who want to party at the beach bars. We say, why not do both?
Only 90mi/150km across, Bali is relatively easy to explore though there is no public transportation, so renting a car or hiring a driver is recommended. For days on the beach or around town, bicycles are easy to rent and are generally a popular form of transportation.
The Berg Adventures expedition to Carstensz Pyramid both begins and ends on the island of Bali and sometimes we spend a few extra days here due to unpredictable flight conditions to Timaka. Here are 5 things you can do to spend your time on this beautiful island. We assure you that you will not have a shortage of things to do!
1. Hit the Beach: Many people flock to Bali for the beaches alone. Get away from the busy beaches near Kuta and Seminayak to really enjoy the water.
Many beautiful beaches are located on the Bukit Peninsula at the far south of the island. This includes Jimbaran Bay and Balangan Beach. Considering the proximity to some of the busier places such as Kuta, these beaches are relatively quiet. Sunset from the peninsula is spectacular.
The White Sand Beach of Padangbai on the southeast coast is quite lovely. You'll find affordable food, friendly locals and snorkeling close to the shore. The main beach here can be quite busy, but the nearby beaches tend to be much quieter.
2. Relax: If there's one thing that is easy to do in Bali, it is relax. Arguably the best place to go for quiet time is the Ubud district. While you will find spas all over the island, Ubud has a particularly high concentration of spas offering services from Balinese massage to reflexology and from acupuncture to aromatherapy.
Ubud is also the place to go if you're hoping to do some yoga. Here you'll find resorts and studios offering everything from drop-in classes to month-long retreats.
Don't pack a lunch if you're off to Ubud for a day trip or you'll miss out on some of the best food in the country.
Start with a morning yoga session and a leisurely walk through a hanging garden, grab a delicious lunch and finish up with an afternoon at the spa. Life can't get any better.
3. Hang out in Seminyak: This neighborhood, located at the south end of the island near to the airport, is where you go when you've had enough relaxation. Full of delicious restaurants, active nightlife and interesting shops, Seminyak is a great place to watch the sunset with a drink in hand. Here you'll also find many of the popular hotels on the island and the central location makes it a great home base for day tripping.
4. Visit a Balinese Temple (or three): - Bali has been called the "Island of a Thousand Temples", but this is quite honestly an understatement. Perhaps the most popular temple is Tanah Lot, and with good reason. Located on a small cape along the west coast only accessible during low tide, it is stunning and makes for a great photo opportunity.
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan is spectacular water temple located on Lake Bratan at the foot of Mount Catur. Often shrouded in mist and located at about 3000ft/900m, this temple is a good place to go to get out of the heat.
Besakih Temple, also known as the Mother Temple, is a collection of many temples that make up one larger complex. It iis considered by many to be the most important temple complex in Bali. Located on the side of the island’s highest mountain, Mount Agung, the Besakih Temple is over 1000 years old and has narrowly escaped at least one serious lava flow from a nearby volcano.
When visiting temples, keep in mind that they are active places of worship. Remember to be respectful of local customs and beliefs.
5. Soak in the Natural Beauty: Did we mention just how beautiful Bali is? The silhouettes of symmetrical volcanoes dominate the landscape in the northwest. Verdant terraced rice paddies are a feat of human ingenuity in the central highlands. In West Bali National Park, dense jungle gracefully meets the crystal clear sea. Get out and go for a leisurely hike to really soak in the beauty that is Bali.